Kind of like miniature, self-contained unit studies, Evan-Moor's History Pockets series allows kids to get a good grasp of an era primarily through studying its dominant culture and leaders. Each book covers a specific period (ancient Rome, the American Civil War, Western expansion, etc.), with activities to fill 7-11 "pockets." This is very much a hands-on approach, allowing children to cut and paste, color, and complete word-based activities in order to supplement their history study.
A particular strength of these titles is their usefulness to parents whose children are not homeschooled. If your kids are in public, private, or charter schools, the Evan-Moor History Pockets books are great ways to make sure they're up to speed and comprehending at their grade level. These are also excellent titles for teachers who want to supplement their curriculum with extra homework or in-class practice, or who simply need more ideas for instruction.
There are books for grades 1-3 and for grades 4-6+, each with age-appropriate activities and information. Pockets are made from construction paper and assembled into a book for easy reference later on; instructions for both processes are included in the beginning of each title. Some pockets are very specific (one in the Explorers of North America book is called "Henry Hudson"), while others are fairly broad (one of the pockets in Colonial America is simply called "Work").
While there's plenty of fun stuff in every book, there's also plenty of informational text to read, pronunciation guides, lists of facts, timeline activities, etc. But many kids are much more likely to care about that stuff once they've colored and assembled a paper model of the Mayflower, or played a mini-board game about the major explorers, and History Pockets provides those opportunities as well as many more like them.
None of these titles are by any means sufficient as history curricula by themselves, nor are they meant to be. They're simply intended to help kids get a better grasp of important historical periods through hands-on learning, and by providing interesting facts not always found in textbooks. History Pockets work well in conjunction with just about any history program, and are likely to help give your kids a boost toward loving history study they might not have had otherwise.
To browse samples, please visit any of the individual book pages below.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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